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Monday, April 30, 2018

Stunning ‘Dragon Lights’ illuminate lakefront this week [PHOTOS]

Posted By on 04.30.18 at 09:15 AM

Nearly 40 artisan-made light displays from Sichuan, China, have been set up on the lakefront this week as part of the "Dragon Lights" festival.

The city of Zigong, where the artisans who made the lanterns hail from, is "China's cultural capital for the ancient art of lantern making," organizers said.

The lights will be set up through Sunday. The 39 larger displays were handmade on-site in Chicago. One of the larger dragons is 200 feet long and two stories high. There are thousands of smaller lanterns as well, along with performances by acrobats and other entertainers.

"Dragon Lights." Through 5/6. Mon-Thu 5:30-10 PM, Sat-Sun 5:30-11 PM, South Parking Lot, Soldier Field, 1410 S. Museum Campus, dragonlightschicago.com, $13-$20.

Check out some of the displays below:

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Jaden Smith and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 04.30.18 at 07:44 AM

click image This noted Willennial Jaden Smith plays Lincoln Hall Mon 4/30. - SARAH MORRIS
  • Sarah Morris
  • This noted Willennial Jaden Smith plays Lincoln Hall Mon 4/30.

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts to see this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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The guy who quit Second City

Posted By on 04.30.18 at 06:00 AM

Dan Bakkedahl, second from right, and his castmates in the 2003 Second City revue Doors Open on the Right - SUN-TIMES MEDIA
  • Sun-Times media
  • Dan Bakkedahl, second from right, and his castmates in the 2003 Second City revue Doors Open on the Right

The Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

Back in 2004 Dan Bakkedahl was living the dream of just about every young improv performer who moves to Chicago: he was performing on the mainstage at Second City. But then he quit. Kabir Hamid's 2005 profile "So Long, Second City" explains why.

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Stormy’s Chicago show to feature Rahm on stage—kinda

Posted By on 04.30.18 at 06:00 AM

rahm_collage.jpg

Stormy Daniels's upcoming shows at the Admiral Theatre will feature shout-outs to our very own Mayor Rahm.

That's right—Sam Cecola, the Admiral's owner, tells me he just finalized arrangements with Stormy to appear at three live shows in June at the theater at 3940 W. Lawrence. And as part of that extravaganza, Rahm Emanuel and Donald Trump will be taking the stage with Stormy.

OK, it will really be a guy in a Rahm mask and another guy in a Trump mask. But it will be Stormy in the flesh.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Kanye versus Obama: It's easier being a celebrity than a politician

Posted By on 04.27.18 at 02:14 PM

Kanye West - CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP, FILE
  • Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File
  • Kanye West

I realize it was only a few days ago that I was complaining about Barack Obama's reluctance to end the war on drugs by taking a wishy-washy stance and legalizing marijuana.

But now let me do a bit of reversal to rise to his defense against the unfair criticism leveled by Kanye West, who, while reaffirming his bizarre love for Donald Trump, felt compelled to take a shot at Obama.

After tweeting that Trump is "my brother" and bragging that they share "dragon energy," Kanye wrote:

“Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed.”

C'mon, Kanye—give me a break.

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Jenny Hval collaborator Håvard Volden digs deeper into abstract sound in his own projects

Posted By on 04.27.18 at 06:00 AM

Lost Girls (Håvard Volden & Jenny Hval) - LASSE MARHAUG
  • Lasse Marhaug
  • Lost Girls (Håvard Volden & Jenny Hval)

Ever since Norwegian singer and art-pop provocateur Jenny Hval released her gripping 2011 debut, Visceral (Rune Grammofon), her most important musical partner has been guitarist Håvard Volden, a staunch experimentalist who's helped realize her fizzy, ambitious pop. In her live performances she's usually accompanied by several wig-wearing women, and though Volden joins her too, often wearing his own wig, he tends to stand off to the side behind a mixing desk—Hval is the focal point, and he seems happy with that arrangement. In 2012 the two of them made a lovely, mostly acoustic album called Nude on Sand (Sofa), but its sparse, direct songs increasingly seem like an anomaly for both of them—insofar as artists so unpredictable can be characterized as having a "typical" approach.

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How to meet and greet little green men

Posted By on 04.27.18 at 06:00 AM

The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation - NERDIST
  • Nerdist
  • The cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation

The
Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

The year is 1989, and Star Trek: The Next Generation is in its second season, maintaining the mission of the U.S.S. Enterprise "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before." The voyages of Captain Picard and his crew are dismissed by the scientific community as works of far-out fantasy, as they certainly are. It's a TV show, not a documentary. Yet Allan Goodman, a dean at Georgetown University, is spearheading an initiative to essentially carry out Picard's orders; by 1992, he hopes the United Nations will sign off on an agreement between world leaders to search the skies for intelligent life.

That's all well and good, but should the search bear fruit, what then? The Reader's hefty 1989 profile of Goodman, authored by Greg Kitsock, outlines his proposed protocol for when—not if—our planet makes contact with aliens. It contains multiple mandates, leading with one as prescient today as it was then:

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American Pleasure Club at the Beat Kitchen and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 04.27.18 at 06:00 AM

American Pleasure Club, formerly Teen Suicide, plays the Beat Kitchen 4/28. - COURTESY THE ARTIST
  • Courtesy the artist
  • American Pleasure Club, formerly Teen Suicide, plays the Beat Kitchen 4/28.

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend. Here's some of what we recommend:

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A Scene at the Sea is an early masterpiece from Takeshi Kitano

Posted By on 04.27.18 at 06:00 AM

A Scene at the Sea
  • A Scene at the Sea
On Monday at 7 PM, the Chicago Film Society will screen a 35-millimeter print of the Japanese drama A Scene at the Sea (1991) at the Music Box Theatre. Along with Lee Chang-dong's Oasis (which plays from 35-millimeter at Doc Films on Sunday at 7 PM), it's the best repertory screening in town this week—the film's nuanced, small-scale storytelling provides a welcome antidote to the expensive bombast that's crowding the multiplexes. A Scene at the Sea tells the simple tale of a young man who dreams of becoming a competitive surfer; his doting girlfriend supports his decision, and both characters are welcomed into the local surfing scene. Yet their relationships—with their new friends and with each other—fail to last more than a season, and the young man and woman go their separate ways. The film is less about narrative than it is about capturing certain universal experiences, specifically the love and friendships of one's early 20s, and it succeeds poignantly in that regard.

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Investing in peace: I Grow Chicago celebrates four years of helping residents heal in Englewood

Posted By on 04.27.18 at 06:00 AM

I Grow Chicago founder Robbin Carroll (far right) poses with community members, staff and board members outside the Peace House at 64th and Honore. - I GROW CHICAGO
  • I Grow Chicago
  • I Grow Chicago founder Robbin Carroll (far right) poses with community members, staff and board members outside the Peace House at 64th and Honore.


When Robbin Carroll bought a home in Englewood with plans to turn it into a center for promoting peace, she was met with skepticism from some in a community that had been hit hard by poverty and violence.

Was she trying to be a "white savior?" Or was she trying to take advantage of a neighborhood that had seen disinvestment? Was the move into the neighborhood by the nonprofit she founded, I Grow Chicago, the first step on the way to gentrification?


Erin Vogel, a co-executive director at I Grow Chicago, recalled those questions this week as the organization celebrates the fourth anniversary of its purchase of a rundown home at 64th and Honore. The home, which had been scheduled to be bulldozed, is now called the Peace House, and has provided thousands of meals and other donations to the community and helped residents cope with crime and joblessness. The group later added two vacant lots to its center through the city’s Dollar Lot program.


"That was never Robbin's intention to be the savior of Englewood. She only wanted to make an impact on one block," said Vogel.


She did that in part by hiring a local contractor not only to fix up the house but to train Englewood residents in carpentry.


"We trained the young men who were a part of the destruction in the construction of the Peace House. They were able to learn a trade on their own block, which is important," Vogel said. "They took ownership of the Peace House and its success."


It took time, but Carroll, a River North resident, was able to earn the faith of the community, Vogel and residents said.


"She kept showing up. She built trust in a community that didn't trust [her]," Vogel said.

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